Beginning to End

Blog, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Photography

I’ve been promising for weeks. So here it is ~ how I create one of my compositions.

Oh Bear…  65 layers +/- in the making! One of my more involved works because all of the elements were taken by me, no stock images, and the birds don’t count because they are actually a brush.  Warning… this also made for a really lengthy post.  Ready, here it goes…

The Inspiration:  The movie Goodbye Christopher Robbin, a biographical about the author A.A. Milne and how Winnie-the-Pooh came to be, mixed with the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton, and some deeply connected mementos from my past.

The Main Characters:

The blank canvas… If I just walk a few feet more up the hill, a sea of rooftops would appear.

An old camera case about 12″x13″

All about the hair.

All about the bear.

 

 

The rough stages ~ The girl, the bear, and the suitcase.

There were many, many edits in between layers… tweaking the masking, to correcting colors, to warping objects, to cloning in this and out that.  So let’s move on…

Setting the Scene:

Not surprising that I got some funny looks as I staged this scene.

 

 

The teapot, teacups and saucers were shot on a black background making them relatively easy to mask.

 

 

Adding the chair, the teapot, and lots of cups!  It’s getting there.

Believability:   It’s all in the details.  Light – Keeping in mind when I took the first background scene where the sun was and direction of light on my indoor shots was an important first step so when placing things into the scene, the light matched.  Shadows – Notice I kept the girl’s shadow from the original, but the bear and the suitcase don’t have one, adding them is a must.  Or notice how the back of the chair is partially in shadow, indicating the sun was in a slightly different direction than on the girl; thus, the shadow on the back of the chair needed to be removed while keeping the shadow behind the chair.  The really really small details – Adding blades of grass in front of some teacups to make them appear in the grass and not on it, cloning grass from the chair image to match the grass of the background image and vice versa, and one of the biggest challenges make the bear walk, not float.

Mood:  And now the real fun.

The textures – This is the element that I find really helps set the mood by using just one texture or many, enhancing just a portion or the entire image to tie it all together, as well as using the color(s) or desaturating them leaving only texture behind, as well as changing the opacity, the blending mode, or all the above to achieve a dark and moody or bright and cheery image.  The possibilities are endless!  The sky – What better way to enhance a mood or completely change the story than by adding just the right sky or clouds… Sunrise, sunset, rain, snow, or a even a rainbow… each one tells a very different story.  Real or fantasy? I like it to be somewhere in between.   A little distortion can go a long way.  Distorting a building, a horizon, or even a bear can add a bit of whimsy and is a nice balance between real and fantasy.  Oh, and a few birds, of course can’t hurt.

Once again, between each new layer there were many many edits with many different tools.  Tool tip:  A relatively new technique to me, but now my go-to for adjusting a single area, big or small, even as small as a single teacup, is the curves adjustment.  I use the Lasso tool to select, then feather the selection quite a bit, hit Control (on a PC) + M to bring up the curves window, pulling the curve to lighten or darken, whether to bring out a little more detail, deepen shadow, or change the color.  Quick and easy!

The result:  The final image as it went to the printer and on display at the Transformations Exhibition

Oh Bear. . .

 

 

 

All photos & content in this post and on this website are for viewing only.  Please do not try to copy, download, or reuse. Thank you.

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The Eleventh Hour

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Good Sunday Morning!  It feels good to be spending this cool, sunny last day of September morning enjoying a cup of coffee and rambling on about this hobby of mine.

Let’s talk about exhibits?  Do you enter your photography in juried exhibits/competitions?  Why… or… why not?

An idea board and “rough drafts” to keep track of my first series

Over the course of this blog, I’ve entered a number of exhibits/competitions.  I’ve been rejected and have won first place.  But whatever the outcome, the weeks, days, or with just an hour or two to spare leading up to the deadline are always the same…  Working and reworking an image, looking for the tiniest of details that might have been missed to making sure the title is just right, and always, always, thinking I could have, should have done this or that differently.  Then I hit the send button… and wait.

The call for entries for the 2018 Transformations Exhibit last week was no different.  Transformations is an exhibit where photography and the imagination meet, an exhibit where “Photoshopped” is not a bad word, and an exhibit that is all about what I love to do.  So why do I get so worked up? Partly because it is a competition, all the work and effort that goes into an image, and most importantly that my vision just might not come through.  When it comes to judging there’s the technical, but then there is always the subjective… maybe the judge is partial to portraits than landscapes, more straight forward images than obscure ones, or maybe the judge has their own vision when putting the show together and your image(s) just might not fit.  Even knowing the logic and not so logical behind competitions, there are two emotions I seem to have no control over… the excitement of being chosen and the disappointment of not making the cut; which when combined equals that anxious feeling that sticks with me until the results are in.

Tapping into my darker side at Pennhurst Asylum.

So why do I do enter?  It’s simple really… because with each and every one, I learn and grow a little more as an artist and photographer.

Well, the results should be in sometime this coming week and regardless the outcome, I will be very glad to say goodbye to this gnawing anxious feeling… until the next exhibit/competition I enter.

With fingers crossed,

You don’t want to miss this!

Blog, Photography

©Maria Dreyer-All Rights Reserved

 

 

©Maria Dreyer-All Rights Reserved.  One of my very first composites and still a favorite. How can it not be? It’s got all my favorite things… my dogs, Halloween, fall, pumpkins, even a chill in the air.

There is something intriguing and challenging about transforming a photo, whether it’s a conversion to B&W to a full blown composite.

Regardless of how much or how little, the one thing every transformed image has is the creative vision of the person behind the camera.  Not sure if this type of photography is for you?  Well, the Transformations Exhibit is back!  And it is a perfect venue to check out how photographers from all walks and types of photography interpret what a transformation means to them.  I know I cannot wait to see these creative works!

 

September Happenings

Blog, Photography

Transformations

In case you missed last year’s exhibit, either as a spectator or as a participant, it’s back!

But the deadline to enter is approaching fast, September 20th to be exact.  “The whole idea of the TRANSFORMATIONS Exhibition is to let the imagination run wild and the creativity flow.”  To see exactly what  Henry Rowan, the mastermind behind the exhibit, is talking about check it out here https://www.facebook.com/pacenterforphotography/ or here http://www.pacenterforphotography.org/.

But even sooner, two days in fact…

The start of the DOYLESTOWN ARTS FESTIVAL September 9 & 10th.  I will be exhibiting with a great group of photographers under the Pennsylvania Center for Photography  (or as we fondly say the PCP) banner.  Between the perfect weather forecast and 200+ artists/vendors/performers participating this year, this is sure to be a  event.  Hope to see you there!

P.S.  Please help get the word out and share this post.  Thanks!

It’s going to be a good one…

Blog, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Photography

…a really good one, and I am very excited.

I don’t enter exhibits as a matter of routine.  In fact, just the thoughts, tugs at an inner insecurity.  But!  They often serve a purpose and when I believe in the organization and the people behind it… it’s a no brainer.  Count me in!  Unfortunately, that does not dampen the anxiety any…  I push it to the final hours of entry, struggling over which images to enter.  In the end, I’ve learned to go with my heart and the images I love… for whatever reason.  And with that said, the Transformations Exhibit entrants have been selected!   Okay, and just as a formality, I should tell you that I had two images selected ~ whoo-hoo!

But! that’s not why I am this excited.  I’m excited… no ecstatic… because this is an exhibit that allows another type of photography to take center stage.  A type of photography that gets snubbed at times against “right out of the camera” images, a type of photography where the photograph is the framework for a story yet to be discovered and where imaginations (the viewer’s as well as the photographer’s) are free to wander and explore.    The images below by Tom Chambers and Ali Majeska are perfect examples. Seriously… how cool are they!  There are also a number of entrants who I have gotten to know and am delighted to call friends, and whose talents and passion for photography I admire immensely… Congrats All!

I have admired  a number of photographers/artists from afar, being inspired by and learning from them and, okay, I’ll admit it… following them at times like some teenage groupie through their social media.  Needless to say, they have had a profound impact on the direction I have taken my photography.  I can thank Cheryl Tarrant of Distressed Textures and Kim Klassen for starting my addiction to textures and how this technique became such a catalyst in the transformations of my images.  And along the way, there have been others… Jamie Heiden, Jai Johnson, and most recently Brooke Shaden whose storytelling through their images and openness to share techniques have inspired me to continue to tap into that creative side, uncovering it little by little, image by image.

Since I started this post (and after many drafts) and seeing my name included with so many talented photographers & artists, including Brooke Shaden, I have made myself a promise… that this would be the last time I post, discuss, blog, write…whatever you want to call it about my insecurity.  I do what I do… well, because I love it.  And when you do something you love… it shows.  It’s just that not everybody can see it.

mark you calendars!

poster-transformation-for-web

DON’T GO YET!   Because this post would not be complete without a huge thanks to the innovative mind behind this exhibit, Henry Rowan, his wife Nancy and their dedication to promoting photography in ALL its forms through The Pennsylvania Center for Photography and to Stephanie Lisle and her efforts and Promotion for the Arts in Bucks County.  Thank you so much for all you do for photography and the arts!!!

Until next time,
Maria